Why Do Cows Moo At Night?

cow moo at night

No countryside setting is perfect without the moo sound of cows. If you are a homesteading or a neighbor of a farmer, you might have heard cows mooing, especially in the middle of the night. Are they hungry? Are they stressed? If you are curious to know “why do cows moo at night”, what follows may be worth your minutes.

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Why do cows moo at night?

There is a wide range of reasons that cows moo at night. Most of them are valid but moo for nothing. Cows often moo in the middle of the night to protect them from danger and predators or to convey an important message to you and to their herd mates.

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  • They are scared

One of the most common reasons why cows moo at night is because they do not feel safe, either by humans or predators. If they find their predators such as coyotes, mountain lions, and wild dogs prowling under the cover of darkness, cows will moo loudly to alert danger to the rest of the herd.

  • They want to find their calves or mothers

Just like humans, cows use moo at night when they are unable to find their calves or mothers.

A calf is usually separated from his mother to ensure the best individual care and monitoring of both animals. However, the mother cow will not understand that and continue to moo to find her children. If the calf recognizes a call from its mother, it will moo back.

  • They want to find their friends

Cows are herd animals by nature, hence they will eventually be back with the rest of their herd after venturing on their own for a short time. When cows moved to a new location, they will moo to connect with their friends.

Cows spend most of their time browsing and lazing around, so if they graze unchecked outside its home pasture or enclose, they tend to get lost. Lost cows will moo constantly until the rest of the herd guides him back with their own herd.

cow in the night

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  • They want food or have found a new food

Another reason that cows make a noise in the middle of the night is that they are hungry. Cows learn over time that if they moo repeatedly, the owner will eventually bring them food.

A cow may also give a moo at night if he finds food. The call is to draw attention to food now available and they are excited about it.

  • They are stressed or hurt

When cows are in pain either emotionally or physically which causes stress or hurt, they moo. Perhaps they change environments, like moving from one farm to another, or maybe a familiar cow buddy has been moved or passed away. Even though you may not find out an injury, a cow can have internal pain that causes him to moo time after time.

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Superstition when cows moo at night

Some people who are superstitious believe that when a cow moo in the middle of the night, it is an omen that someone in your close circle is going to die. Don’t be tricked by those words, cows moo at night for a particular reason.

Tips to keep cows safe at night

A number of ways can be done to keep your cows safe at night and possibly reduce the amount of mooing.

1. Maintain a proper size of herd

An ideal herd ranges from 5 to 10 cows so that they can protect each other from danger and easily seek their company. When cows feel safe and protected, they will gradually reduce their desire to moo.

2. Having livestock guardian dogs or donkeys

Dogs and donkeys have a reputation for protecting a herd of animals. They can sleep in the pasture with your cattle or other livestock. Furthermore, both animals can sense predators and even fighting them off. The fewer predators are, the less mooing throughout the night is.

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3. Pay particular attention to pregnant and sick cows

Cows need better-quality of feed and enclosure at the end of their pregnancy. You should bring them closer to your barn or putting them in a small pen near or in your barn.

Cows that are sick or giving birth can be an easy meal for predators as they cannot defend themselves.


There are various reasons for mooing in the dark, and it all seems that their social life is more complicated than we think. Fortunately, if you find out the reasons why cows moo at night, you can minimize it by making a few minor changes on your ranch.

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